A grieving dad wrote the most heartbreaking Grammy-nominated album of the year.

Jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene was nominated for two Grammys at the awards show airing tonight. The nominations were his first.

Jimmy Greene in 2001. Photo by Gabe Palacio/Getty Images.


It was bittersweet moment for Greene, whose nominated album, titled "Beautiful Life," has its roots in tragedy.

Greene and his wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene, embrace. Photo by Don Emmert/Getty Images.

Greene's daughter, Ana, was one of 20 students killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012.

Photo by Don Emmert/Getty Images.

In January, Greene told CBS News that recording the album was his way of coming to terms with the enormous grief that followed his daughter's death:

"One of his songs from his album, 'Seventh Candle,' symbolizes the candle he'd never get to put on Ana's next birthday cake. She was just six — and a "half," as she would always emphasize to her parents — when she was killed.

Greene wrote the song around the time of her seventh birthday in 2013, playing it specifically on soprano saxophone because that is the closest range to his daughter's voice."

Since the Sandy Hook shooting, over 550 American children have died from gunshots.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Between 1999 and 2014, there were over 6,400 gun-related deaths of children age 14 and younger. Mosts of these were homicides, according to an NBC News analysis of CDC data.

One of them was Ana Marquez-Greene.

After Ana's death, Greene felt he didn't have a choice but to channel his feelings into his music. In a video interview, he told The Recording Academy that the music he composed "felt very much so like it needed to be documented" in the months after his daughter's death.

"I want the music to reflect the way that Ana lived," he wrote on his website.

In a "special message" on his website, Greene asks fans to urge their representatives in Congress to write common sense into America's gun laws to help prevent the next Sandy Hook.


Greene, center, with fellow Sandy Hook parents, President Barack Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

"There has been much debate in Washington D.C. and in state legislatures nationwide about gun control policy in response to the Sandy Hook School murders," Greene wrote. "Your voice and your vote count! Let your elected leaders know you want to make our schools and communities safer. Write them, call them, email them, but please don't remain silent."

Until that happens, Greene's nominations are a testament to the power music has to express what words and data often can't.

Photo by Gabe Palacio/Getty Images.

While Greene says he's "thankful" and "humbled" by the honor, his wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene, believes his nominations and his music are most importantly a lesson in how we can move on from the worst moments in life.

"They say after a trauma, there's three normal responses. You know, fight, flight or freeze," Marquez-Greene told CBS. "And I think what Jimmy did is he showed and he is showing people that there's another way and that's create."

True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less
True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

Keep Reading Show less
ZACHOR Foundation

"What's 'the Holocaust'?" my 11-year-old son asks me. I take a deep breath as I gauge how much to tell him. He's old enough to understand that prejudice can lead to hatred, but I can't help but feel he's too young to hear about the full spectrum of human horror that hatred can lead to.

I wrestle with that thought, considering the conversation I recently had with Ben Lesser, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor who was just a little younger than my son when he witnessed his first Nazi atrocity.

It was September of 1939 and the Blitzkrieg occupation of Poland had just begun. Ben, his parents, and his siblings were awakened in their Krakow apartment by Nazi soldiers who pistol-whipped them out of bed and ransacked their home. As the men with the shiny black boots filled burlap sacks with the Jewish family's valuables, a scream came from the apartment across the hall. Ben and his sister ran toward the cry.

They found a Nazi swinging their neighbors' baby upside down by its legs, demanding that the baby's mother make it stop crying. As the parents screamed, "My baby! My baby!" the Nazi smirked—then swung the baby's head full force into the door frame, killing it instantly.

This story and others like it feel too terrible to tell my young son, too out of context from his life of relative safety and security. And yet Ben Lesser lived it at my son's age. And it was too terrible—for anyone, much less a 10-year-old. And it was also completely out of context from the life of relative safety and security Ben and his family had known before the Nazi tanks rolled in.

Keep Reading Show less